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The Era of Modern Germany

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The Era of Modern Germany

Throughout time, nations have attempted to become independent from one another by discovering means to help their citizens experience more fulfilling lives. The dilemma that troubled each of these countries is whether or not innovations, in technology and society, led to a higher quality of life. In the book, Rites of Spring, Modris Eksteins examines how innovation affected the citizens of Germany. Eksteins conveys that technological and industrial innovations paved the way for social transformations, throughout Germany. These social changes include a newfound appreciation for Art, tolerance of homosexuality, and a new approach towards warfare.

The establishment of the German modern era began at the turn of the 20th century. Eksteins verifies this conviction by stating that Germany made tremendous industrial improvements, during this time. Among these industrial improvements was the introduction of a massive steel industry. Although Germany produced steel prior to 1900, it had never competed with the other European powers. "By 1914,

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German steel production equaled that of Britain, France, Russia combined? Along with a massive production of steel, other German industries such as iron, chemical, and electricity also flourished throughout this time. Germany finally had the foundation it desired for economic growth.

According to Ecksteins, the formation of these industries gave Germany the opportunity to develop as a culture. Industry facilitated culture by shifting a large part of the population out of the countryside and into the city. "In 1870 Germany's population was two thirds rural; by 1914 that relationship had been reversed? This gave German industry the possibility of transmitting their ideas to a large audience. The formation of the modern man and women was born. Also, one must conclude that the shift out of the countryside brought an influx of diverse beliefs into German cities. Germans who had previously lived under certain beliefs were introduced to several new convictions. Suddenly Germany transformed itself from a close-minded nation, to one, which was open to change. This newfound acceptance of change facilitated a general belief that Germany had become the most modern state of that time.

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One of the most prevalent examples of German modernism was their newfound attitude towards art. Eksteins believes that one can accurately perceive this feeling by examining the ballet Rites of Spring, and its reception around France. The ballet by Stravinsky/ Nijinsky obtained terrible reviews because it did not use previous methods. The French were not ready to appreciate such a different style. One can associate this with Germany because of the belief that Stravinsky and Nijinksy were heavily influenced by the modern nature of German avant-garde art. This attitude gave the artist liberty to create instead of placing conservative constraints. Other regions of Europe were not ready for the art that Germany had already accepted.

As another example of German modernity, Eksteins uses Germany's demeanor towards homosexuality. This newfound approach to sexuality was due to a youth movement, which believed restrictions on sexuality were simply not warranted. "There was a new emphasis in general on leibeskultur, or body culture, on an appreciation of the human body devoid of social taboos? Although Germany did not consensually approve of homosexuality, the general visibility of the movement is a prime illustration of modernism. Tolerance demonstrated that Germans were open to

social change and did not necessarily adhere to their conservative roots. Also, one must compare German attitude,

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